Firefly Music Pageant’s VP & Pageant Director Stephanie Mezzano Talks Success Of Fest’s Lightning-Quick 2021 Return

Courtesy Firefly Music Pageant SOFI TUKKER’sSophie Hawley-Weld performs at Firefly Music Pageant at The Woodlands in Dover, Del., Sept. 26.

After weathering the storm of COVID’s 2020 lockdown and managing to tug off planning a 50,000-capacity pageant in simply 4 and a half months, nothing was going to cease Firefly Music Pageant from making its grand, post-lockdown return in 2021 – even a literal lightning storm. 

“Certain, it was just a little bit muddy that first day. And it was powerful for everyone concerned. However to me, it was like we had been all attempting to convey dwell music again and put this huge present on and I will be damned if something stops us!” vp and pageant director Stephanie Mezzano instructed Pollstar about having to push Thursday’s opening to eight p.m., with some artists rescheduled to different levels that night.“The present should go on! And it did. And it felt unbelievable.”

Together with Billie Eilish’s triumphant headline set Thursday, the Sept. 23-26 lineup at The Woodlands of Dover Worldwide Speedway featured The Killers, Tame Impala, Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion and plenty of extra. 

Mezzano joined AEG Presents after the corporate purchased Crimson Frog Occasions’ shares of Firefly in 2018. She is among the co-founders of Firefly and beforehand served as president of operations for Crimson Frog. Mezzano spoke to Pollstar about rapidly making the ’21 pageant occur, internet hosting Firefly’s first Satisfaction Parade and introducing the occasion to its latest tremendous fan.  

Firefly VP & Festival Director Stephanie Mezzano Firefly VP & Pageant Director Stephanie Mezzano introduces her son Ezra to his first music fest at Firefly 2021.

Pollstar: You found Firefly’s house in 2011. What initially related you to the area?

Stephanie Mezzano: We had been touring up and down the East Coast. On the time, it was a reasonably untapped marketplace for festivals. We went to in all probability about 5 or 6 different venues. Our final go to was the Speedway. We spent in all probability the primary 75% of the tour wanting on the precise observe itself and the infrastructure. Within the final possibly half hour of our go to they had been like, “Come see our campgrounds.” We drove again to this space of unbelievably beautiful, large bushes. When you’re in there, you do not see the rest. As quickly as we stepped in there, it was like, properly that is it. That is what you wish to really feel at a music pageant … utterly off the grid from the remainder of the world. … 

During the last, now it’s arising on 10 years, we’ve slowly been working with the property and placing quite a lot of funding into it … correct drainage and bathe amenities and issues like that, which have allowed us to develop the pageant into a very good location for a multi-day music pageant the place one thing like Thursday may occur the place you get quite a lot of rain.  

What occurred with the rain?

It rained just about all day on Thursday, and we pushed again the gates to 7:30 p.m. – the present was imagined to open at 3 and it just about rained all evening. Our followers actually trooped it. There undoubtedly was some muss that first evening. However then Billie Eilish acquired on stage and it was like, who cares what occurred that day?! Everyone was there and all people was in it. One of many coolest issues I observed is nobody had their telephones up. Normally you go to a live performance, you see all people’s telephones within the air. We’ve all spent two years hooked up to our telephones and on Zoom conferences as a result of that’s all we had. And all people simply got here and put them of their pockets. They had been watching and dwelling within the second. And it was one thing I observed all weekend lengthy … it was like just a little display screen sabbatical.

Firefly routinely refunded 2020 tickets and so the pageant primarily began promoting tickets from scratch for ’21. What was the planning course of like?

2021 was an enormous query mark for a very long time for us. This occasion wasn’t truly launched till the center of Might. So, this was the quickest 12 months I’ve ever deliberate a music pageant. Our total group has by no means performed something fairly prefer it. From the center of Might to the precise pageant weekend – so 4 and a half months.   


(laughs) Yeah, it was a wild trip. … I have to sleep for a couple of week. After which I’ll be able to plan ’22. 

Inform me concerning the lineup.

We had been in a position to convey some [2020] acts over, however many of the expertise was new. … I believe our followers actually related to the lineup. … We had a heavy quantity of females on the lineup … a heavy quantity of individuals of shade. We actually wished to focus this 12 months on making Firefly as inclusive as an occasion as we presumably may. 

Attendees had to offer both proof of a COVID vaccine or a destructive take a look at for entry. Apart from the COVID protocols, what else was new for ’21?

We did our first ever delight parade. That was on Sunday and we ran a delight parade from one stage by means of the pageant to the opposite. Simply the outpouring of affection and assist and feelings was so highly effective. … We may really feel the emotional weight of how nice it was to rejoice our LGBTQ+ neighborhood at Firefly. It’s the primary time we did it and now simply looks like a everlasting a part of our present. We additionally did a drag brunch, which bought out in lower than an hour. And so we undoubtedly know we have to add extra drag brunches subsequent 12 months. It was a very cool a part of this portion of our occasion known as Supper Membership, the place we do these small, seated dinners and reveals.  

Have been you in a position to catch some units through the pageant?   

I am an enormous music fan, and so I undoubtedly snuck away each second that I may. I acquired to observe Sofi Tukker’s set, which was proper at sundown, and [Sophie Hawley-Weld] was sporting this beautiful costume that seemed just like the solar was truly setting on her. It was a magical second. I acquired to see just about all of my favourite acts over the weekend. Additionally, I’m a brand new mother. I had a child through the pandemic, so my 15-month-old was truly there. I acquired to indicate him across the present, which is the best factor. So, we made him an excellent fan from 12 months one. 

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